It's a time to celebrate failure - and the lessons learned from it.
The third annual Business Wake, organized by Peak Startup and Epicentral Coworking, is Wednesday evening at Epicentral in downtown Colorado Springs. It's a chance to "connect with and inspire those who may have, may be, and may eventually face failure," states a Facebook post.
Inspired by similar events in other communities, Michelle Parvinrough, executive director of Peak Startup, and Lisa Tessarowicz, owner of Epicentral Coworking, came up with the idea of celebrating failure and figured the period around Halloween and Dia de los Muertos would be perfect timing for a wake. About 60 to 80 people have attended in the past.
Fear of failure can stop would-be entrepreneurs before they get started, Parvinrough said. "They don't look at it as this opportunity to improve. They don't look at it as an opportunity to get better. They just look at it as failure."
The Business Wake, she said, seeks to reframe the mindset around failure. While it's not something to seek, it's something to be comfortable with and learn from.
"We actually reach out to people that we know who have had failures in the past year and ask if they would be willing to share their story," Parvinrough said. "What causes failure, what were lessons learned, how would that set them up for success in the future?"
Among the speakers for this year's wake is Israel Lucero, who was CEO of Bahuka, a startup based on an app designed to match learning styles and teaching styles so that students wind up with compatible professors. Lucero developed the idea out of a class project and it snowballed into "this little startup," he said.
Bahuka surveyed nearly 2,000 students and worked with "a handful of teachers," and the app was released in November 2016. But Lucero recently pulled it and dissolved the business; the problem, he said, was a lack of cooperation by instructors at schools. "It just seemed like the faculty didn't want to embrace it," he said.
Lucero said he's happy to share his story at the Business Wake. "Failure is something we all experience to one degree or another," he said. And he learned plenty of lessons from Bahuka that he can share, he said, such as the importance of persistence and the need to focus on sales.
"I thought it'd be cool to participate," he said of the Business Wake. "And for me, it's kind of a way to bury the old and move on."
And he has moved on, having started College Apple (collegeapple.com), a college tutoring blog. He calls it his "little pet project," which points to another lesson he said he learned.
"Don't call it a business at first," he said. "Call it a project."